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What is Viral Labyrinthitis?

Viral labyrinthitis is an inner ear disorder causing vertigo, hearing loss, and balance disruption, often triggered by a viral infection. Imagine your world spinning uncontrollably, a sensation that's both disorienting and frightening. This condition attacks the labyrinth, a crucial part of our ear's anatomy. Intrigued by how this affects your equilibrium? Discover the intricacies of this invisible maze within.
Madeleine A.
Madeleine A.

Viral labyrinthitis is an inflammation or swelling of the inner ear caused by a virus. People suffering from this condition experience symptoms such as vertigo, dizziness, and nausea. Although viral labyrinthitis is caused by an infection, it has characteristics of a balance disorder. Patients frequently complain of loss of balance, and the feeling of rotational movement. In addition, rapid eye movement and anxiety can be common complaints.

Although viral labyrinthitis is caused by viruses, other forms of labyrinthitis are related to chronic anxiety. Panic attacks can trigger symptoms, but when the panic attack subsides, symptoms tend to disappear. Treatment for viral labyrinthitis includes exercise, anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines, and antidepressants. In addition, corticosteroids including prednisone are effective in reducing inflammation and symptoms of vertigo.

Labyrinthitis causes inflammation of the inner ear.
Labyrinthitis causes inflammation of the inner ear.

Sometimes, antiviral medications are prescribes to treat the virus and prevent permanent inner ear damage. Other non-prescription medications used to treat viral labyrinthitis include motion sickness medications and anti-nausea medications. A very effective medication for treating vertigo is called Antivert®. It not only helps alleviate vertigo, it also combats nausea and vomiting. Antivert®, however, can cause significant sleepiness and patients should not drive while taking it.

Doctors may diagnose viral labyrinthitis by performing an examination of the inner ear.
Doctors may diagnose viral labyrinthitis by performing an examination of the inner ear.

Recovery time for viral labyrinthitis can range from one to six weeks, but the condition can be chronic when permanent damage has occurred. During attacks of labyrinthitis, driving and operating heavy machinery can prove dangerous. Even activities such as walking can be risky, as vertigo can develop suddenly and without warning, predisposing the patient to accidents, falls, and injury. While not a life-threatening medical condition, patients can become acutely ill from this condition.

A case of viral labyrinthitus may trigger dizziness and problems with balance and equilibrium.
A case of viral labyrinthitus may trigger dizziness and problems with balance and equilibrium.

Symptoms of viral labyrinthitis can be similar to other medical conditions such as a brain tumor or stroke. Patients experiencing vertigo should never assume that their symptoms are stemming from viral labyrinthitis, and they need to have a physical examination to rule out other causes of their symptoms. The physician can generally make a diagnosis by taking a detailed medical history from the patient and examining the inner ear.

Someone with viral labyrinthitis may experience nausea.
Someone with viral labyrinthitis may experience nausea.

When an otoscopic ear examination doesn't reveal a cause, the physician might recommend that the patient undergo further testing to determine the cause of his symptoms. An otoscope is an instrument that is used to examine the inside of the ear, and is a very reliable tool for diagnosing disorders of the middle and inner ear. Other diagnostic tests for vertigo include x-rays of the sinuses, and a CT or MRI of the head.

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    • Labyrinthitis causes inflammation of the inner ear.
      By: Syda Productions
      Labyrinthitis causes inflammation of the inner ear.
    • Doctors may diagnose viral labyrinthitis by performing an examination of the inner ear.
      By: MAST
      Doctors may diagnose viral labyrinthitis by performing an examination of the inner ear.
    • A case of viral labyrinthitus may trigger dizziness and problems with balance and equilibrium.
      By: kasto
      A case of viral labyrinthitus may trigger dizziness and problems with balance and equilibrium.
    • Someone with viral labyrinthitis may experience nausea.
      By: Piotr Marcinski
      Someone with viral labyrinthitis may experience nausea.
    • The medical treatments for viral labyrinthitis include anti-anxiety drugs as well as antidepressants.
      By: Wynter
      The medical treatments for viral labyrinthitis include anti-anxiety drugs as well as antidepressants.
    • Recovery time for viral labyrinthitis can range from one to six weeks.
      By: Von Schonertagen
      Recovery time for viral labyrinthitis can range from one to six weeks.
    • Motion sickness medications can be used to treat viral labyrinthitis.
      By: carla9
      Motion sickness medications can be used to treat viral labyrinthitis.